To Test or Not To Test Blood in a Blood Sport: Manny and All of Boxing

Nelson EstupinContributor IJanuary 26, 2010

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 14:  A bloodied Miguel Cotto (L) and Manny Pacquiao battle during the 11th round of their WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao defeated Cotto by TKO in the 12th round.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Much debate has come about because of my previous article on Floyd Mayweather Jr.  So much so, that I believe another article must be written to clarify my statements.

My love affair with boxing began at an early age.  This love, however, has now been tarnished by Floyd Mayweather's call for the blood testing of Manny Pacquiao.

Let me begin by saying that I am neither a Manny fan nor a Floyd fan.  I'm first and foremost a fan of boxing.  Floyd marveled me during his time as P4P.  Just like I was enamored by Roy Jones Jr. and his run. 

Just like I was in awe of how Oscar de la Hoya changed his game from fight to fight during his prime or how Julio Cesar Chavez pulled his record number of wins together or how the young Mike Tyson carried so much power in such a compact frame. 

I am amazed by Pacman and what he's done...NOW.  That's the only difference.  Right now, Manny is king of the mountain and it seems like the only way to cut him down is to damage his rep by saying he's doping.  While this is the state of athletics it's sad that it has come to boxing.

Why can't Manny just be that damned good?  Why tarnish what he's done and is doing by throwing a doping allegation?  What if Frazier alleged that Ali was doping?  Wouldn't that tarnish his "Greatest" moniker?  What if Joe Dumars or James Worthy claimed that Michael Jordan was doping during the six-championship run?  The French still want some of Lance Armstrong's blood!  Can't these men, these elite of the elite just be left alone in a class of their own and just be that damned good?

Manny doesn't want to give blood because of superstition.  So what?  The Nevada State Athletic commission isn't asking for his blood.  Why give it?  To prove to an opponent that he isn't doping? 

He's the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.  He's the most watched and the most hunted man in all of boxing.  Seriously people, if you climbed to that height would you really shoot up, drink something, massage something into your skin, etc. knowing you're watched like a hawk?  Manny's a man of reputation.  He climbed up from absolutely nothing.  The ghetto doesn't have anything on where he's come from.

Two things I know about Manny Pacquiao is that he is a true student of the game and that he's probably one of the hardest working athletes in the world.  Yes, he has his distractions, but he's still true to his sport.  Shoot, the guy trains by hitting himself with a stick.  A STICK!  He does what he does so he can be called the best pound-for-pound.

Manny is an elite athlete, so I'm sure we can all agree he probably knows his body pretty well.  He knows his limits, how and when to push them, and he uses his body as his edge in a blood sport called boxing.

For Manny, I really don't think it's about doping or blood testing.  It's about keeping that edge.  He's a competitor. 

In boxing, if you draw blood you focus in on it.  You punch and claw at the cut you created, drawing more blood.  In the corner, if you're bleeding, you better have an amazing cut man to stop that bleeding.  Blood is a disadvantage in the ring.  This is the mindset of a professional boxer.

So what if your opponent wants to take some of your blood before the fight?  Wouldn't you balk at it?  Even that minuscule amount is that much of an edge that he may have against you.  With so much on the line, I wouldn't give up that edge.  Take it in the ring if you do, but not before the fight.

For Manny, test his blood all you want. His camp has even said, go for it.  Just not so close to the fight.  He's even fine with you taking it after the fight.  Just not right before the fight. 

We are so quick to judge a man on speculation of why he refuses to give blood.  For most people, a blood test is easy.  Remember, however, how important blood is to an athlete.  Remember as well how Manny was brought up.  Poor and uneducated. 

While we see Manny the man, the fighter, we don't know Manny the boy.  For all we know, he may have been traumatized by vaccinations given to him as a child.  I'm a grown-ass man and needles still scare me. 

My opinion—test Manny, but test him on terms everyone can agree on.  He's always proved clean.  I don't doubt he'd still prove clean again and again.

I hate this stain that's been brought on boxing.  It seems like now, everyone who has had any kind of success now becomes suspect and that just isn't good for boxing.  In such a swift move the Mayweathers have taken all honor from a sport I still love to watch.

Does Manny dope?  I certainly hope not.  Could he have?  Why not?  But then couldn't we ask the same thing of Mayweather?  He still is undefeated.  Couldn't his quickness be because he's doping?  No man is that fast, is he?  Maybe Mayweather is projecting the doping allegation on Pacquiao to keep the focus away from him.  Speculation can go both ways here.

All I can say is that I'm sad at the turn of events.  What could have been the fight of the millennium has become the demise of the sport of kings.